10 ways you can adapt your home if you have a visual impairment

Our aim is that visual impairment doesn’t mean the end of an independent life. Every day we enable people to go beyond their expectations and that often means starting small, with the day to day stuff.

Your home is where you should feel most comfortable and relaxed, but it may need some adaptations to make it safe to live in if you’re visually impaired, so here's some top tips to get you started...

1. In your wardrobe you can develop your own system of identifying clothes and colours by using safety pins, i.e. put no safety pins on red clothes, 1 safety pin on blue clothes etc. You can also use a colour reader or a free colour detection app.

2. Add a railing to your stairs to help identify the top and the bottom. On the handrail place a sticky bump near to the top and bottom, to warn the hand rail is ending soon.

3. Having different textures under foot as you enter different rooms can help to orientate yourself around your home, such as tiles, wood, carpet and rugs. Beware with rugs, as they can be a trip hazard.

4. In the kitchen organise your tins and dry food so that the same products are kept on certain shelves, for example, in one cupboard you may keep cat food on the bottom shelf and tins of soup on the second shelf.

5. If you’re struggling to find a small item you’ve dropped on the floor, such as an earring, use your hoover attachment with a thin sock or stocking over the end and hoover the area. You should find the item stuck at the end of the attachment.

6. When doing your laundry keep socks together by clipping or safety-pinning matching socks as soon as you take them off. They can go into the washer and dryer that way and stay matched. Also, try using a clothes peg to clip your shoes together in pairs.

7. When chopping vegetables keep them stable and avoid any cuts by using a metal afro hair comb. Insert the comb into the vegetable and then make the cuts between the teeth of the comb.

8. Use different coloured plastic chopping boards so that you can use one that contrasts with the food you’re chopping, for example, use a red one when chopping an onion and a white one when chopping a pepper.

9. Use elastic bands around different products to help identify them. For example, one elastic band on tins of soup, two elastic bands on tins of tomatoes, three elastic bands on tins of chickpeas, etc. You could use this technique on various products, such as shampoo and conditioner or salt and pepper.

10. Make it easy to locate electrical outlets and light switches, oven dials and doorknobs by using colour contrasts. You can use a coloured card boarder around a light switch for example.

A Rehab Officer can assess whether you need more serious adaptations to your home and advise on what would work best for you. If they agree that you need adaptations to your home, you may be able to apply for about a Disabled Facilities Grant.

We’ve loads more tips and tricks to support you in your day to day life. Get in touch to find out how we could support you on 0300 222 5555 and download our free Life Hacks e-book for 52 tips and tricks!

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Sarah is the Marketing Manager with responsibility for Community Services across Greater Manchester, and the Knowledge Village.
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